Our guide to enjoying Shakespeare in High Park

For the 33rd summer in a row, Canadian Stage is presenting Shakespeare under the stars in the High Park Amphitheatre, nestled in the leafy heart of Toronto’s green oasis.

For 2015, again in association with York University’s theatre programs, the company is presenting two “Roman” plays, very different in tone: The Comedy of Errors, a fun-for-the-whole-family romp of mistaken identities, and Julius Caesar, the political thriller with the most famous assassination (and eulogy) in English theatre. Still known by many as “the Dream” in High Park, it’s become one of the highlights of the summer from many residents whether or not they are regular theatre-goers.

Herewith, a few handy tips to live the Dream:

  • – There is generally ample parking available most nights of the week by Grenadier Café, a short walk from the amphitheatre. Weekends are more challenging, so get there early.
  • – It’s an affordable event to bring the family to, and admission is “pay what you can” with a suggested donation of $20 per person. The volunteers at the gate also have wireless debit and credit machines for those who prefer not to carry cash. There’s also an option to pre-purchase your seating area online.
  • – The shows run on alternating nights throughout the summer before closing the first week of September. The company — including a dozen performers, such as Dora Award–winning veteran Allegra Fulton and York graduate student Christopher Allen and undergraduate student Soo Garay — will perform Julius Caesar on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The Comedy of Errors will run Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
  • – The shows are occasionally cancelled due to steady rain, not because the actors can’t handle a little drizzle, but because the open-air stage becomes dangerous if puddles form.
  • – Although the grass is comfy, bring along a blanket to plunk down your Elizabethan keister. Cushions are also a good idea, as back padding for the terraced stadium-style seating areas.
  • – You’re welcome to pack a picnic basket and bring your own drinks. Alcohol is not permitted — it’s a family-friendly event, after all. But once the show starts, who’s to say what’s in the Thermos you packed?
  • – We’d also suggest bringing along mosquito repellent: as dusk arrives, the winged pests do make cameo appearances.

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